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France, 1942. During the Nazi Occupation, the Ardennes falls in the "forbidden zone" between the German Occupied North and the Vichy governed South. Its inhabitants face starvation as movement of people and supplies into the area are strictly controlled. To save his family, Clovis risks his life crossing the boundary to get hold of potatoes which he intends to plant in a patch of unused land. Knowing that his family's survival depends on the success of his scheme, Clovis becomes increasingly obsessed with his crop of potatoes. Written by
"Les patates" from Claude Autant-Lara is a curious little movie, blending comedy and drama in a historical context.
The story takes place during World War 2, in Occupied France. Clovis (Pierre Perret, a very famous French comedic singer in his convincing screen debut) is trying desperately to cultivate potatoes, despite the restrictions decided by the Nazis, and the jealousy of his neighborhood. Soon, his little garden becomes an obsession, which leads to marital crisis, and beyond...
The film is clearly not as moving and ambitious as Autant-Lara previous work (such as his masterpiece, "La traversée de Paris") but there are many funny parts, and good performances all along.
Overall, a decent satire of Occupied France, with a good balance between comedy and drama.
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